This album is not easy to get into. R.E.M. go really experimental here, reducing the poppy/ folk tradition of their previous records and adopting a more atmospheric, sparse sound. It`s a welcome change of style, going into more challenging and innovative territory that shows the band`s will to evolve.
At first the feel of this effort is a bit cold and unappealing, but it gets more interesting after a couple of repeated listens. It`s a worthwile experience, providing the discovery of new textures, contrasts and details.
"Daysleeper" is probably the catchiest song here, preserving the melodic pop quality of some former singles. The rest of the compositions have a colder, stranger quality to them, offering complex soundscapes. Some great moments include the sublime "Walk Unafraid", the twisted and experimental "Hope" or the gorgeous "Falls to Climb", which can be considered three of the band`s best songs.
"Up" is an interesting album worth checking, presenting R.E.M. in a fertile creative process and avoiding their more mainstream, commercial and immediate sound. Recommended.